Gaining a Supply Chain Edge

How to Become Intimate With Your Supply Chain

Do you have "supply chain intimacy"? If not, do you want it, and how do you get it? Or, even more basic, what exactly is it?

Let me help:
Supply chain intimacy, defined: It is having a detailed and thorough knowledge of your company's supply chain.

Should you want supply chain intimacy, and how do you get it? Yes, it is a critical competency to maximize your company's profitable growth results from having a robust understanding about the art, science and processes of your supply chain and its impact on your company's success.

If you have supply chain intimacy, what do you do with it? This is an important question for the ongoing vitality of your career.

If you have it, you need to do three things:
*Grow it
*Gain more global experience
*Gain more leadership talent

If you need to acquire supply chain intimacy, or wish to grow it, five actions are necessary:

1.Do a deep dive into each of your company's supply chain mega processes of PLAN-PROCURE-MAKE-MOVE-STORE-SELL. You cannot be intimate with your supply chain by only being a "buy" expert, or a "move" expert. End-to-end breadth and depth is the key.

2.Understand the relationships and interactions among your company's supply chain processes and the impacts of key performance indicators (KPIs). Do not focus on supply chain KPIs at the peril of your company's performance. Understand the many trade-offs and compromises that need to be made to balance the processes that beget great customer satisfaction, low costs, amazing speed and high flexibility.

3.Become adept at manipulating your company's supply chain to achieve profitable growth. This entails going beyond the "profitable" focus that results from lower cost and truly grasping that the supply chain also has a huge impact on the "growth" side of your business and that the real goal in supply chain is to both grow the top line and the bottom line.

4.Develop the ability to collaborate both externally and internally. External collaboration with suppliers (supplier relationship management) and with customers (customer relationship management) is essential to achieving supply chain intimacy. This includes collaboration internally across the organization to include IT, finance, HR, marketing, sales, etc. to assure that the supply chain is aligned and contributing to the overall strategy of the firm.

5.Increase your capability to execute continuous improvement and transformational changes to achieve organizational excellence. The pursuit of supply chain excellence requires both tactical and strategic planning, as well as precise execution.

So this is what supply chain intimacy is all about. Your success in helping your company move forward depends upon it.

Tompkins Associates

TAGS: Supply Chain
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